Kalyan Rayithi, a national level surfer and part time skater from Vishakapatnam attempts a trick in an unusual setting - Morjim Beach, Goa.

Sixty skateboarders from places as far removed as Scandinavia and Ranchi landed in Bengaluru for India’s first international skate tour and competition in January 2014. The Third Eye Tour traveled from Bengaluru to Hampi and Goa in a glorious odyssey by bus over the course of 8 days. It was conceived by Indian skate pioneers Nick Smith (We Are Advaitha), Albert Hatchwell (ALIS Sports) and the HolyStoked Collective.

Skaters are often dismissed as delinquents in the West and are still a novelty in India. But observe them building new ramps or bowls with their own hands, doing the kind of physical labour that would make most people balk. You can’t help feeling a tremendous respect, not only for their passion but their obvious ability to knuckle down and work damn hard to create spaces for themselves to skate with the freedom they crave. Most often without the help of any local authorities. 

With this courageous attitude and an aura of social inclusiveness that completely disregards a person’s background, the sport can only gain traction in India. 

Czech wunderkind Maxim Habanec jumps over a fence at the Play Arena skatepark in Bengaluru. There is now skating in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata, Ranchi, Vizag, Goa, Pondicherry, Pune, Hyderabad and Kovalam. India now has over 15 skate spots/parks up from just three in 2009. The sport is growing all over India, not just in the cosmopolitan hubs.

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